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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sunday Gravy and Macaroni

When we lived in Auburn, I used to make a big pot of this homemade sauce with meatballs and sausage; my husband and sons loved it, and it was perfect for a big Sunday family dinner. (I told my younger son I was making tonight and he said "oh, I love that" wistfully; poor guy is  2 1/2 hours away at college.)

As I am not Italian, my mother did not teach me how to make 'gravy', or sauce, as we non-Italians called it. This recipe came from Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Get-togethers cookbook, and it is truly easy and tasty. Once you've made your own homemade sauce, oops gravy, you'll never go back to store-bought.

Now I pair it with fresh made penne pasta from Agata & Valentina, and that ups the taste level too.
Since it's supposed to be cold and snowy tomorrow, I'm hoping there will be leftovers for meatball subs for dinner the next day.

Rachael Ray's Sunday Gravy and Macaroni- from Food Network


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, for both meats and sauce
  • 3 thin cut pork loin chops, 1/2-inch thick, cut in 1/2
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 each sweet and hot Italian sausage links
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, for moderate to spicy marinara
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped, 3 for sauce, 2 for meatballs
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, a couple of handfuls of leaves
  • Several leaves fresh basil, torn or chopped, a handful
  • 1 pound meat loaf mix, ground beef, pork and veal combined, from butcher counter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 2 handfuls, plus extra for tossing pasta and to pass at table
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs, 3 handfuls
  • 1 loaf crusty Italian bread, for serving


Heat water for pasta to boil. Salt and cook pasta 7 to 8 minutes, to al dente.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat a deep skillet or medium heavy bottomed sauce pot over medium high heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Halve sausages. Add 1 tablespoon, 1 turn of the pan, extra-virgin olive oil to pan or pot. Place chops in pan or pot and brown 2 minutes on each side, remove. Add another tablespoon oil, 1 turn of the pan, and sausages. Brown sausages 2 minutes on each side and transfer to plate with pork. Add pepper flakes, 3 cloves chopped garlic and onion to the pot and saute 1 minute. Add broth to the pan and scrape up drippings. Add tomatoes and herbs and bring sauce to a bubble. Add meats back to the pot and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer sauce until ready to serve, 12 to 15 minutes.
Combine ground meat, egg, remaining 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1/3 cup cheese, and bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper and roll into balls, 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Place balls on nonstick cookie sheet. Roast meatballs 10 minutes, then slide into Sunday sauce and turn off oven. Add bread to oven to crisp crust.
To serve, place pork, sausages and meatballs on serving dish. Pour 1/2 of the sauce into a serving dish to ladle over pasta and meats at the table. Toss cooked spaghetti with remaining sauce in sauce pot, adding a few handfuls of grated cheese to the pot as you toss it. Transfer pasta to a serving dish.

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food!


  1. Yummm. Save some for me. My mother-in-law (also not Italian) makes a similar sauce with sausages and meatballs. She doesn't add the pork. This looks like a winner.

    1. I've never added pork before, but it adds a nice flavor.

  2. Looks yummy! I was confused at first by the word "gravy," but then I realized it was for pasta sauce! Gotta love different places having different names for food :) Maybe I will make this tonight. It sounds perfect for a snowy day.

    1. Gravy confused me at first too. The leftovers made a delicious meatball sub.

  3. Reminds me of a conversation I once had with my neighbor, she called it gravy and she said macaroni instead of pasta. Whatever you call it, it's a great dish. Yours looks amazing!

    1. I think I should take a poll on how many people say gravy versus sauce!

  4. This does look good-funny how she calls it gravy-I have always called it sauce. Either way it looks good. Enjoy.

    1. Thanks Esme, I call it sauce too. When I called it gravy, it just confused my sons.

  5. What a great dish. It looks hearty and delicious.

  6. Mmmm...this is totally the way to spend a weekend. It looks delicious!

  7. I was amused the first time I heard the sauce called gravy, but am becoming familiar with that term now. love the addition of the sausage.

  8. I tried this recipe once! I lived alone, though, so it was waaayy too much to eat, and quite expensive for one person because of all the meat.

    1. It does make a lot, I like to make it for a big family dinner or to have leftovers for meatball subs.

  9. This looks delicious! I've never heard pasta sauce called gravy before - when I read your post titles I had vision of chicken or beef gravy spooned over macaroni!

  10. Belle- that is exactly what I thought at first! I was picturing something like Beef Stroganoff.